Recently, farmhouses have sprouted inside of the area which marks the outer boundary of River Indus‘s floodplains. These farmhouses are linked by paved roads lined with electric poles. On plots, where houses are yet to be constructed, work on boundary walls is going on. The farmhouses have turned into havens for rave parties with revelers descending during the weekends, taking advantage of their secluded location and lack of policing.

The floodplains are an ecologically fragile zone and eco-sensitive and construction in any form, whether buildings or concrete roads, is banned on land extending usually up to 500m from both sides of the river's course. Only farming is allowed and the tillers can only erect makeshift huts or dig bore wells on the floodplains.

It is deeply shocking that the land mafia, feudal lords, bureaucrats and technocrats have usurped hundreds and thousands of acres of land on the River Indus’s floodplains in blatant violation of rules of the land. It is estimated that nearly 5,000 acres of land on the floodplains have been occupied illegally, much of it very close to the river's course.

It is seen that on these farmlands, ‘Farmhouses’ are being built and sold to buyers as developers tap into a swelling demand for spacious housing. The sight of illegal farmhouses greets you everywhere along the river's course. Regrettably, nothing is being done by the relevant organisations. No action is being taken against the land mafia, among others. What works in favour of the mafia is the absence of law on such constructions. There is no regulatory authority. Developers in connivance with the corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and technocrats also take full advantage of these loopholes, smug that they would neither be fined nor jailed. At worst, the illegal structures will be razed but that is not going to happen in Sindh province because rulers and their relatives in bureaucracy, technocracy and construction have illegally occupied the River Indus bed in Sindh.

HASHIM ABRO,

Islamabad, June 24.